NOTE: Sadly, Mãos is now closed.
Nuno Mendes’ career was launched when he started the Loft Project; a tiny, supperclub-like restaurant set in an East London loft space.
And after running some of London’s most celebrated restaurants, he reached a new career peak: a tiny, supperclub-like restaurant set in an East London loft space.
That loft is in the Blue Mountain School, above ultra-hip Shoreditch clothes shop Hostem. There’s no markings, and no grand entrance. And inside, it’s a purely minimalist, plaster-clad dining room, connected to the kitchen and a wine cellar, which you can peruse at will to choose your own bottle for the evening.
Just a few months after opening, the place was awarded a Michelin Star – so naturally a few months after that, Nuno Mendes decided to move on. But it’s still going very strong.
Mãos (which means ‘hands’ in Portuguese, and thankfully has nothing to do with mice) is intended to be something a little different from the usual restaurant, instead operating as a kind of supper-club which you can only visit by booking (and paying for) your three-hour ‘experience’ in advance. You might spend that time getting to know your dinner party companions around the communal table (seating just 16 guests), or you might take the opportunity to roam the space, chatting to head chef Eddie Pellicano (formerly of Portland and Viajante) as he dices onions.
Speaking of which – the food is served in the form of 14 elegantly presented dishes that draw on European influences, but without “classical distinctions”. Here, that means plates of smoked celeriac dashi with wasabi leaf oil; lobster and roasted kombu chawanmushi; and slow-grilled Iberico pork with nukazake carrots and sour carrot jus – but the menu can shift and evolve depending on what’s good that day.
And at the end? You won’t be getting a bill, since they’re keen to eliminate all the barriers between chef and guest. Instead, it’s organised separately so as not to mar your evening.
Well, there’s no such thing as a free lunch, is there?
NOTE: Sadly, Mãos now closed.
Mãos | 41 Redchurch Street, E2 7DJ
Like chef’s tables? Check out the latest Soho addition, Evelyn’s Table